Well, I finally did it! I’ve been practicing yoga for about 2 years now, and never once have I been able to maintain a daily yoga practice. Yesterday, I realized I’d practiced yoga every single day for a full month. I can’t believe it! It was a goal of mine ever since day one, so I thought I’d write a post to celebrate and share what I’ve learned in the process.
Why practice every day?
I get asked this a lot, and never quite know what to say. Honestly, when I first started practicing yoga, I read a quote that stuck with me.
“If you practice yoga once a week, you will change your mind. If you practice yoga twice a week, you will change your body. If you practice yoga every day, you will change your life.”
I wanted to change my life. I was dealing with deep-rooted anxiety, a body that hurt, and couldn’t sleep. If doing yoga every day could help with that, I wanted to do it.
Unfortunately, my life since that decision has been a series of unfortunate events. Two major injuries, a minor sprain, and a lot of mental struggles have kept me away from a consistent practice, but I always wanted to come back.
Now, I have another reason.
If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I recently went through about 2 months of physical therapy. It was frustrating, and the whole thing was a huge mental struggle for me. I like to stay positive, but here I was, dealing with another issue that was keeping me from doing what I wanted. But then, I got permission to continue practicing yoga. I had restrictions, but I could get back on the mat. In fact, they even encouraged it.
Slowly, as the weeks progressed, I started doing more and more yoga. I realized I felt better on the days I practiced. I started to crave that time on the mat, and before I knew it, I was practicing every single day without even realizing it.
I’ve learned some really good lessons in the last 30 days. Lessons that pertain to yoga, but also to life. Maybe I finally figured out the last line of that quote.
1. Trust the process.
Having a goal you can’t reach is really frustrating. Really frustrating. But you know what? It’s important to trust the process.
For the last year, I’ve had a goal to add crow pose into my practice. Every time I saw a yogi friend of mine post a picture in that pose, I’d try it. I hadn’t built up enough strength, though, and I literally kept falling right on my face. It was no good.
I finally put that goal on the backburner, because it was frustrating me, and just went on with my practice.
2 weeks ago, after a lot of planks, chaturangas, and core work, I suddenly realized I could do it. I’d gone into the pose as I was playing around at the end of practice, and there it was. The pose that had caused me so much frustration for a year.
Regardless of whether you are struggling with a goal in yoga, your business, or life in general, this is a great lesson.
Trust the process. Keep your goal in mind, but know that you have to do the legwork to actually achieve it.
2. Respect your limitations.
Coming out of two major injuries in less than two years, this has been an especially important lesson for me to learn. I have limitations.
We all do, and we need to learn to honor them. You’re not less of a yogi, less of an athlete, or even less of a person for respecting your limitations.
Just last night I was shocked to find that poses I used to fall into easily before were a huge struggle. This injury left me with less range of motion in my hip, and I even had to bring out a block to help me find space. Pushing that limit would have only served to hurt me, and put me back farther in my practice. It’s a lesson I learned the hard way once before, and I was reminded of it again last night.
Learn when you need to say “no” or “not right now,” and move on to the next thing. Over time, it’ll happen, but only if you give your body (and yourself) time to adjust.
3. Let it go.
If you’re a mom like me, you probably sang that, and I do apologize. But, it’s a good lesson to keep in mind. I think the difference between this time, and every other time I’ve tried to practice every day, is my mindset.
Every time I made this a goal, I committed to 30 days of practice. No matter what. I’d find a series that looked good on YouTube (I’m a big fan of Yoga with Adriene) and I’d go all in. Those were always good challenges, but put too much pressure on me to follow someone else’s ideal 30 days. Not mine.
This time, since I wasn’t going into it with the mindset of doing yoga every day, I didn’t look for a challenge. Every day, I’d come to my mat and consider what I needed that day. I did watch videos and attend classes, but in between that, I just worked on what I wanted to.
Once I let go of what 30 days of yoga should look like, and started having fun with it, I realized I wanted to be on the mat every day. It no longer felt like a commitment, so it became something I craved.
Yoga has taught me a lot over the last few years, but I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned is how little I still know. I’m going to take these lessons and carry them into the rest of my life. That’s what yoga is really about, right? Taking what you learn and carrying it off the mat.
So, here’s to the next 30 days, and whatever lessons still lie ahead to be learned.
Want to join me?
I’ve found that a daily practice requires a lot of videos at home (I mean, who has time to hit the gym for an hour every day??). One of my favorite ways to do this is through a new subscription yoga program put together by my friend, Melody. She uploads new flows and information weekly, and is always around to answer questions for her members! You can check out the information on this program right here. If you decide to join, be sure to tell her you found the link from my blog! You’ll get a little discount on your first month if you do!